Scam warning involving prepaid debit cards - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Scam warning involving prepaid debit cards

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Lockport, La. - The Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office says there's a new spin on an old scam.

This is how the scam is explained in a news release from Sheriff Craig Webre, "a potential victim receives a phone call from someone claiming to be calling on behalf of Publishers Clearing House. The caller states the potential victim has won a large sum of money and a luxury automobile. If the potential victim indicates they did not enter the contest, the caller states that he/she has been entered by local retailers.

The caller then instructs the potential victim to obtain a "Green Dot® MoneyPak" card at a local retailer and place several hundred dollars on the card. The caller instructs the person to call a phone number afterward and provide the card number. While the scam varies from here, ultimately, the victim is told that after this process is complete, the prize will be delivered. Of course, once the victim provides the MoneyPak card number, the scammer is now able to spend the funds they asked the victim to place on the card."

Sheriff Webre says at least one Lafourche resident reported the scam to deputies in July. The resident did not buy the debit card.

"This is a typical 'pay for prizes' scam where the scammer asks you for money in return for prizes," said Sheriff Webre. "In this case, they are making the victim do all the work by placing money on a prepaid debit card and giving them the card number."

Additionally, authorities say the initial call typically appears as an 876 area code, or some other international area code, which may also lead to high long distance phone bill charges.

Because MoneyPak is not a bank account, the corporation says it is not responsible for paying back the victim for losses in this manner.

People who do enter legitimate contests with Publishers Clearing House should know the company does not notify winners by phone.

If you get a phone call similar phone giving you directions like the ones described here, Sheriff Webre says you should hang up immediately and call the police.

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